The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound
Product Code: 93183
Binding Information: Hardback
Ages: 9 - 12
Availability: In stock
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It's time to write, sketch, and paint!
Poetry, sketches, and watercolors capture bird identification, behavior, and appearance throughout the four seasons. The journal format will inspire readers to record, evaluate, and create their own observations.
This book is good for your brain because:
Birds, Journaling, Habitats, Poetry
(You will want to print these double-sided. The front will then have a picture of a bird, the back will have the ID information).
If you like this book, you'll love these:
Pink Me - February 1, 2010Do you have a journal? A place to make lists, sketch things, glue in a clipping or a feather or a scrap of cloth? This is a book that asks, "If not, why not?"
This extremely first-person book of poetry, prose and sketches is ostensibly about birds. But, like many books that are ostensibly about birds, it is really about being alive to the world around you. Sallie Wolf watches the birds around her house for a year, making lists of species, doing little sketches, making poems. And - I don't mean this the wrong way - Sallie Wolf, a talented artist, includes many sketches here that are not intimidatingly well-executed. Gestural, instinctive little drawings. Her poetry is also notable for its humility: grounded in the everyday, she refers to sewing machines and middle school in her imagery. Drafts are included, complete with crossed-out lines. Nothing in this book is overthought or overworked.
I adore this. If you want to show a kid that anyone can make a poem, don't ask them to read Song of Hiawatha. I shared this book with an older friend last week, a hospice patient who peacefully spends a lot of time looking out the window. She's never drawn before, and to my knowledge has never written poetry, but I took her a little stash of art supplies and a sketchbook.
Modest in size, with a design palette as muted as a winter day, with glowing accents like holly berries, this accessible little book will inspire readers to look around and listen, and to record the small events they witness.
Publishers Weekly - February 15, 2010
This journal strikes a pensive and tranquil note, emphasizing the simple joys to be found in observing nature, birds in particular, rather than providing specific tactics for indentifying species. Cursive lists of North American birds appear under a heading for each season, followed by a collage of bird sketches in ink and watercolor, journal entries, and careful observations that take the form of tender, sometimes surprising poems: "A pair of nuthatches used to visit my birdfeeder every day./ That was before West Nile virus/ spread from bird to bird." It should find an audience in nature-lovers, writers, and other contemplative readers.
laurasalas - February 12, 2010OK, I feel kind of dumb not doing a love poem on the Friday before Valentine's Day, but I'm guessing all the other Poetry Friday bloggers have this covered!
Although I like to look at birds, especially raptors, I'm not a very good birdwatcher. I can never remember which bird is which, so if it's not a cardinal, robin, blue jay, or bald eagle, I probably just call it "that hawklike bird sitting on the streetlight," or some other equally scientific observation.
This book, The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound (Charlesbridge, 2010), by Sallie Wolf, is a lovely book representation of a birder's art journal. It has sketches, paintings, words, phrases, lists, and poems. Often, you can see the genesis of the poems in the scribbled lines off to the side.
Here's one of my favorites:
white and black.
Patch of red
upon his head.
--Sallie Wolf, all rights reserved
I enjoyed all the elements, which surprised me. I thought I would zero in on the poems and kind of ignore the rest. But in fact, I don't know that I would have enjoyed just the poems pulled out. Some of them aren't my style. But because they're in the context of seeing how this creative person's mind works, they all make sense and draw me in.
I think this could make a great book to have students use as a model. What a fun way to bring content area, wordplay, art, observation all together in one project!
Kirkus Reviews - February 15, 2010Longtime bird enthusiast Wolf observes, sketches, paints and writes poems about the robins, juncos, wrens and cardinals that venture near her Illinois home. Here, bits of her original birder's journal are digitally manipulated with simulated torn pieces of paper and adhesive tape to create a clean, inviting scrapbook look. A spread entitled "Spring" features a list of species spotted, a lovely watercolor-and-ink sketch of a crocus, a list of warbler characteristics and a haiku about brown creepers. Thoughtful questions ("February 19--Where do birds sleep at night?") and brief cursive notes ("May 2--The black cap sits on its head like a black beret") pepper the pages, and the winsome poems range from nursery-rhyme style ("Flippy-floppy, splishy-sploshy-- / robins take a bath. / One bird, two birds, three birds, four-- / it's crowded. Splishy-splash!") to more matter-of-fact free-verse observations of bird behavior. The journal's most charming aspects, however, are the artful sketches and watercolor paintings--and the endearingly childlike sense of wonder reflected throughout.
Wild About Nature - March 21, 2010This lovely new book by Sallie Wolf reads like her own personal birder’s journal. We see and hear what Sallie observes through her notes, sketches and poetry. As an Illinois native, I see lots of robins in my backyard, so my favorite poem in this book is the one which also lends its name to the book’s title.
The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound
The robin makes a laughing sound.
It makes me stop and look around
to see just what the robin sees-
fresh new leaves on twigs of trees,
a strong, high branch on which to rest,
a safe, dry ledge to hold its nest.
The robin makes a laughing sound.
I stop. I always look around.
Readers of this book not only get a look inside the behavior of robins, but also a look at seagulls, cardinals, the white-breasted nuthatch and juncos, among others. But make no mistake. This book is much more than a look at bird behavior. It teaches and inspires observation, thinking and creativity. Readers will desire their on journal and pen and long to record their own observations about the wonders of nature.
Laura Crawford had the opportunity to interview author, Sally Wolf:
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
I received a BA degree from Brown University in Anthropology and Archaeology and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. All my art and writing grows out of my journals in some way. In my journals I record my daily activities, my to-do lists, ideas about what I’m working on, what I’m reading, what I’m feeling. I organize my day, my week, my work, my life. And then it becomes the source for my day, my week, my work, my life.
I am now at the exciting place where the art that I make because I love it suggests what I want to write about. The art leads to writing which leads to more art which revises and refines the writing. It all begins in my journals and the process continues in my journals until the book is done. I am the author of three children’s books: Peter's Trucks Truck Stuck and The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder's Journal.
WHERE DO YOUR IDEAS FOR NONFICTION COME FROM?
My ideas come from observing the world around me and from reconnecting with my childhood passions. I have always been passionately interested in nature and natural history—learning to identify the different birds, plants, animal tracks, sea shells, rocks I see around me and on my travels. And my ideas come from listening carefully to the rhythm of words. I find that I have my best ideas when I am walking by myself around my Oak Park neighborhood. Something about the rhythm of walking fits with creating a rhythm of words and ideas seem to flow.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE HARDEST PART ABOUT WRITING?
There are two parts I struggle with; one is making enough time to write to let the writing develop. The other is finding the structure that works for the project. Once I have the structure I can get to the language I need. If the language comes first then I have a hard time giving up precious word combinations to get to a satisfactory structure. In the kinds of books I write—picture books—structure is plot. It is what holds the book together as a whole. I don’t think in terms of “plot” and I do think in terms of structure. For The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound the structure began as bird collages on a calendar. I could see that I had 12 illustrations and thought all I needed was text to go with each bird. As I began to write I realized that poetry would work better than prose. Then I abandoned the collages and the calendar and opened up the number of birds observed. Then I switched to organizing by season rather than by month. I felt I was better able to portray my experience of observing birds with this seasonal structure.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST FACT YOU HAVE LEARNED?
For three mornings in a row one April, a female cardinal sat on a twig over my patio and sang and sang. I was surprised because I had always assumed that only the males sang. I knew she had a nest in a bush nearby so on the third day I got a hand mirror, and when I knew she was not on her nest I held it over the nest and peeked at the contents—4 eggs! Do you think she was singing about laying eggs? I do. My understanding is that they lay one egg a day until the clutch is complete. I think I missed the first day, and heard her each of the next three. I have never been able to repeat this experience to date so I can’t really be sure that I’m right, but I think she was singing to announce her eggs—whether before or after laying, I can’t say.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST WORK.
I have just submitted a ms based on my Moon Project which is an on-going art project of observing the moon and making art based on the information I record in my journals. The methodology is very similar to how I developed the bird book, gathering information in my journals and then compiling that and working from those observations. To learn more about the moon project, check out my website: http://www.salliewolf.com/moon.html
School Library Journal - June 1, 2010Wolf’s journal/sketchbook is arranged in eight-page sections by season, each beginning with a list of avian visitors. The charming, eye-catching format includes short dated nature notes written in script, some of them on glued or taped-in torn paper pieces; other paper scraps contain short typeset poems and small, labeled watercolors: an object; a single flower; a bird; a tree in seasonal array. Notes for several poems, showing words or phrases that have been crossed out and changed, are written beside the finished piece. Pen-and-ink sketches capture a baby house sparrow, a V-formation of geese, a downy woodpecker at a suet feeder, and more. Two pages of author’s notes explain how Wolf became interested in birds as a result of a seventh-grade project, and how she developed her journaling style. A page of resources includes several outstanding Web sites, some top-notch guides, and books on birding. This small, instructional guide may provide the inspiration for young authors with even a bit of artistic talent to begin keeping nature journals of their own.
We Love Children's Books - April 1, 2010This is a lovely book of poems and more about bird identification and behavior, a textual and visual record of observations designed like a actual journal. The poems are brief, only a few reach 16-18 lines, and are mostly descriptive with some thoughtful, emotional overtones. The ink drawings and watercolors leave an immediate, ephemeral feel as if they were swiftly done rather than studied. Quick but not sloppy. The arrangement is by season, beginning with spring. Alongside the free-verse poems are an occasional haiku, lists of birds seen, and short notes such as "April 23 -- First sighting of a white-throat -- I've been hearing them for about 3 days." The poems appear in a traditional serif font, while notes and lists are hand-written. The journal-like feel is carried throughout. A note reads "Illustrations done in watercolors and pen and ink on Sallie's original journal pages and on handmade paper, then scanned and manipulated in Photoshop." I appreciate the author sharing her love of nature in such a creative way.
From one of my favorite poems "Robins Take a Bath"
Fluffy fledglings preen their feathers.
Four birds fly away.
Freshly groomed and tidy robins,
finished for the day.
The PlanetEsme Plan: The Best New Children's Books from Esme's Shelf - April 20, 2010Not a circle, but round.
Blue, white or green--
Some are speckled brown.
Once they are peck-peck-peckled,
I find two pieces on the ground.
We enter into this very intimate book with a description of how the author's seventh grade teacher shared her own passion for bird-watching, and how the author brought in a stuffed owl to class with results that reverberated years later into the pages that follow. This book is a rare bird: a combination of rhyme and free verse so soundly executed that the reader comes to trust the author for that alone, but no, so much more is conveyed: a scribbly, collaged journal, full of observations, sketches, corrections, drawings and discovery. In fact, this is as much a book about process as it is about poetry or birds, and the author takes the reader to her shoulder and in so many words and pictures, says, "look, look!" until, like a bike rider with training wheels, who discovers a new and independent balance, the reader discovers the ability to look at the natural world on his or her own. That seventh grade teacher's passion is paid forward here. (8 and up) Pair or preface with Susan Blackaby's poetic exploration of animal habitat, NEST, NOOK AND CRANNY (illustrated by Jamie Hogan, Charlesbridge, 2010) and the picture-book biography THE BOY WHO DREW BIRDS: THE STORY OF JOHN JAMES AUDUBON (by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Houghton Mifflin, 2004).
Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book - March 29, 2010Everything inside this book is inspired by birds. The sketches, paintings, poems, and notes--everything is based on the different birds the author has seen around her home. Inside, you will meet the robins, seagulls, nuthatches, juncos, woodpeckers and cardinals that have stirred the author's imagination.
The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder's Journal shows you how to admire and study birds by simply looking and listening. A birdwatcher since she was in seventh grade, Sallie Wolf fills her journals with observations about the birds outside. As the seasons pass, she records what she sees, hears and thinks about as the birds come and go. On April 23, she writes:
"First sighting of a white throat - I've been hearing them for about 3 days."
On her summer pages, she draws loons across the bottom of the page and paints a picture of a goldfinch and a sparrow. She sketches a wild turkey in the fall and woodpeckers in the winter. Adding to the beauty of this journal are the author's paintings of trees, flowers, and leaves.
Although there are no blank pages inside, all you need to become a bird journaler is here. The author includes information about starting a birder's journal and shows how the smallest observations can become something worth documenting with words or art.
Everybody can have fun observing birds. In a classroom setting, this peek inside a real birder's journal could be used as the basis for a fun assignment. Given as a gift to a bird watcher or journal writer, it's a book to treasure.
Children's Literature - March 26, 2010
The handsome binding and pleasing size are just the first part of the instant attraction this collection of poetry about birds and nature exerts over book browsers. The loose watercolors and pen &ink illustrations carry the reader from the front cover right through to the last page listing resources (both electronic and books). Charming is an overused word in describing books, but in this case it is perfect. Wolf's habit of keeping a daily journal of bird sightings, weather phenomena, and sometimes her feelings is a gift and an example for students and adults alike. Deceptively simple poems reflect her delight, surprise, and interest in the various birds that frequent her feeders and yard. She notes the different species and remarks upon particular individuals as they hunt for food, seek shelter, and raise their young. The pages of actual journals and originals on handmade paper were photocopied and utilized for the book. The display type looks as if it were handwritten (which may be harder for younger readers to decipher) while the actual poems are in an easy to read font. The pages appear to have been mounted in the book in a casual manner but the placement is artfully arranged and the tiny sketches on the background paper give additional viewpoints of drawings or snippets of scientific information. In some cases the original wording of a poem will appear, showing the re-writing and refining process in a concrete way for the reader to observe how important the selection of the "exact" word can be, especially in poetry. The poems themselves are thought provoking and varied in style: free verse and more formal rhyme schemes stand side by side with excellent effect for the particular subject matter. The poem "Riddle" has its opening text printed in an egg shape; while the two halves of an egg which has cracked contain the closing line: "Once they are peck-peck-peckled, I find two pieces on the ground." This title is perfect for individual enjoyment but will serve as a wonderful resource in an English or science classroom. Teachers will be pleased to use this book to inspire journal writing, observation, and organization of ideas and materials.
Young readers will enjoy the sketches and short, thoughtful poems by artist and passionate birder Sallie Wolf. She describes the habits of a variety of bird species, from robins to seagulls, and illuminates the importance of keeping a journal to better understand nature.
National Wildlife Federation - April 20, 2010
Sky, trees and parks are now busy with birds. My city backyard is atwitter with robins, finches, sparrows and doves and evening is bright with a pair of cardinals. Migrating geese honk from the heavens.
How to best welcome these springtime friends? In my family, we're dusting off the hummingbird feeder and preparing our wildlife habitat for new growth.
Children's author Sallie Wolf puts out a metaphorical welcome mat through her slim, beautiful volume, The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound (Charlesbridge, 2010, $11.95). It's a creative record of the birds that Wolf enjoys watching. Included are small poems, brief descriptions, lively sketches, watercolor paintings and lists of birds seen on particular dates.
This book models the catch-all style of an artist's or naturalist's notebook: careful observation and note-taking, creative response, in-the-moment drawings. It may well inspire a single child to watch and write or spur a shared journal for the entire family.
Bookslut - July 1, 2010
COOL READ: Writer and artist Sallie Wolf has put together a sweet title with The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound. Subtitled "A Birder's Journal," this blend of poetry, field guide and nature notes is going to find a very specific audience that will flat out adore it. Wolf arranges her entries by season, and includes bird lists, haiku, observations, ruminations, watercolor illustrations and drawings on every page. Essentially, she is inviting the reader into her life, providing a space at her window and her desk. It is a very personal work, for all that it does not share about Wolf's actual personal life. You are merely seeing what she sees, and perhaps altering your own conclusions about art and nature through her influence. Teen readers who might be wary of their own creativity, and are reticent to face the blank page, will find a sympathetic fellow artist here -- someone who uses the barest of brush strokes to capture the creatures she sees. Exquisitely designed by Charlesbridge, The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound is one of the more elegant books to come across my doorstop in a long time. I hope a lot of young birders and artists and poets find it.
California Kids!" - May 1, 2010The author of this most engaging journal has been watching birds since the 7th grade. She combines lists of birds she sees with poems, scribbled notes, pencil drawings, and watercolor art. She tracks birds through the seasons. Cardinals: "Rubies in the snow, berry beaks. Twleve cardinals in my snowy backyard. Six pairs!" And downy woodpecker: "Checkerboard back, white and black. Patch of red upon his head. King me!" She describes unusual events, such as a band of 50 crows chasing an owl. She asks questions. "Do owls migrate?" and "Where do birds sleep at night?" This lovely, peaceful book can hold a reader's attention for an hour or more. It will fascinate both you and your budding birder.
Paula Morrow - September 25, 2010The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound presents a modern-day version of a hand-written book: the personal journal. Author Wolf, who has been journaling since seventh grade, shares selected excerpts and sketches from her bird-watching adventures. Notes, lists of birds seen, and simple poems are reproduced in her original handwriting. Sometimes words are crossed out and replaced, so that readers can see the evolution of a poem or thought. The pages are brightened by pen and ink drawings and watercolor paintings: flowers, trees, and of course birds. Fresh, evocative poetry in a variety of forms--from haiku to limerick, from couplet to the occasional longer poem--express the author’s joy and wonder at her avian sightings. The medley is an intriguing and intimate example of what a journal can be. Author pages at the beginning and the end of the book give a double bonus. For the reader who would like to take up birdwatching or learn more about birds, resources are suggested. For readers who like to write, the author shares tips about journaling and reveals how her style has changed over the years. And for readers who have never tried writing for pleasure, “The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound” could well launch a journaling adventure of their own.
Yellow Brick Road - December 1, 2010An astonishing percentage of Americans identify themselves as bird watchers. Wolf's sketches, paintings and poetry are wonderfully arranged by Bornstein. Wolf's fascination with birds in evident, and readers are invited to observe nature and express their views in words, pictures and more.
NSTA Recommends - March 20, 2011Delightfully written and exquisitely illustrated, this book gives children and adults a glimpse of a birder’s journal. The author, a noted poet, shows her notes, draft sketches, and watercolors as she observes birds. Then her completed poems reflect her curiosity and fascination with what she's learned.
This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for 2011 is a great model for student journals. The metacognition of the author as she thinks about what she knows and what she wants to know will help students understand the processes of science—especially observation and questioning. It also contains a great deal of concrete information about backyard birds and their behaviors. This is not only a great tool for teaching science and communication arts but also a book that you'll want to hug.
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - March 1, 2011Nature study is an activity many homeschooling families wish to pursue in their studies and a book like this may just provide the inspiration necessary to pursue journaling and sketching. The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound is not a blank journal for a birder (as I thought at first), but rather a beautiful collection of bird observations, notes, poetry, sketches, and even paintings. This eclectic collection of art is beautiful to look at and read, and it just might inspire a future birder to get started today.
At just 48 pages, this compact and very attractive book made me want to go out and purchase a fresh journal in which to start my own observations of birds. Author Sallie Wolf shares something magical and special when she invites us into the world of birding. After a very brief introduction to bird watching, the heart of the book begins. Divided into four sections by season, we first see what appears to be a hand-written list of all the birds Wolf observed in spring. This is followed by a collection of typed poems, surrounded by art and other notes that look like handwriting. The artistic look of the page is simple, clean, and somehow personalized to look like a real journal, with what seem like taped-on sketches, rough-edged squares of brown with poetry about spring birds, black pencil sketches, and almost abstract watercolor paintings of beautiful birds of the season. The handwriting is actually a creative font, but its variations of size and tilt create the illusion of a real journal. Of course the book is not rough-edged or handwritten at all, but rather it contains smooth white pages with scanned art and digitally created rustic papers. But it's all beautiful enough to make you feel like you are holding the author's real bird journal.
As the book progresses, the other three seasons are presented in similar fashion but not in a formulaic predictable way. In fact, each season has unique sketches, poems, and paintings, all presented in unique combinations on the pages. A note at the front of the book indicates that the paintings and sketches are actually scanned from the author's original journal, which I believe is what contributes to the beauty and natural appeal of the book.
The book concludes with the author's note about journal use, followed by a reference list of books and websites to encourage new birders on their adventure. This small book is only about 6 x 9 inches in size with a red fabric spine and a lovely cover of the author's art.
Although my initial assumption about the book was mistaken, I still found a measure of enjoyment in reading this book. We are casual birdwatchers in our home and using this book's seasonal chapters has already provided unexpected inspiration for journaling and sketching amongst our children. I'm not sure that this book would serve as a critical resource for nature study, but I do think it makes an outstanding supplement and would make a lovely gift for a nature-loving child of any age. It is not juvenile in its presentation as to offend a teenager, yet neither is it written in a way to detract young children from enjoying the art and the poetry. I am pleased to recommend this book and I find the author to be inspiring and encouraging even to me, a novice birdwatcher and reluctant sketch artist.
Through The Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews - July 1, 2011When Sallie Wolf was in the seventh grade, her teacher taught the children in her class how to identify birds, study their behavior, and write down their observations. Ever since then Sallie has been bird watching, and in this book she invites us to share her interest in birds by taking a journey through the seasons, telling us about some of the birds that she sees. She begins with spring, giving us lists of some of the birds that she sees at this time of year. There is a painting of a crocus and a delightful poem about early crocuses and brown creepers who "circle up tree trunks." We get to meet a robin who "makes a laughing sound" as it goes about making a nest. There are also notes about the birds she sees, as well as sketches and little watercolor paintings of birds, flowers, and a tree. In the summer there are seagulls who "hang out at the mall" and spend their time "fighting over French fries / and scraps of burgers." Robins take a bath, cleaning their feathers vigorously until they are "Freshly groomed and tidy."
In this very personal and beautifully presented book, we take a journey through the year reading notes about birds, lists of birds, journal entries, and poems. There are delightful illustrations throughout, some of which are simple ink sketches, and others that are delicate watercolor paintings. At the beginning of the book, the author explains how she came to be interested in birds, and at the back of the book she tells us about her journaling journey, which she began when she was a child.
Language Arts - January 1, 2012In the author’s note at the beginning of the book, the author writes, “My seventh-grade teacher taught our class to identify birds using Roger Tory Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America. We set up bird feeders on the flat roof outside our classroom. The birds became used to feeding there, and we soon learned to identify the different species. . . . I have been bird-watching ever since” (p. 6). This book contains journal entries about bird-watching throughout the four seasons along with poems written in a variety of styles. One concrete poem in the shape of an egg is titled “Riddle” and it reads, “Not / a circle, / but round. / Blue, white, or / green—some are / speckled / brown” (p. 13). What is unique about the poems is that readers are able to see rough drafts of them and how they were revised. The illustrations were taken from the author’s actual journal and then digitally manipulated. Readers may be inspired to create journals of their own by observing their favorite animals. This title was selected as a 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association.